Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW 3 Series VS 2016 Audi S4 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2016 Audi S4

Safety Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The S4 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The S4 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The S4 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The 3 Series Sedan has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S4 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the S4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Audi S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

150

252

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

35%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

144 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

64 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Audi S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

232 G’s

253 G’s

Hip Force

184 lbs.

242 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

64 G’s

71 G’s

Hip Force

688 lbs.

790 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

20 inches

HIC

291

318

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

50 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

648 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

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BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S4.

There are over 33 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170-amp alternator (180-amp - 3 Series Sedan Diesel and 200 ActiveHybrid). The S4’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

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The 340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 325) than the S4’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the 340i Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

2WD

340i/Manual

20 city/30 hwy

n/a

340i/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

n/a

AWD

340i/Manual

20 city/29 hwy

17 city/26 hwy

3.0T/Auto

340i/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

18 city/28 hwy

3.0T/Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The S4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The S4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

118 feet

Road & Track

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 3 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the S4.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the S4’s (56% to 44%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .95 G’s, while the S4 pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The 328i goes through Road & Track’s slalom faster than the S4 (69 vs. 68.4 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S4’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The BMW 3 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 600 pounds less than the Audi S4.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

At idle

39 dB

47 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

74 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

71 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has 5.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S4 (96.2 vs. 91).

The 3 Series Sedan has 2.3 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the S4.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The S4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The S4 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the 3 Series Sedan w/Comfort Access the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the S4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

Comfort Access optional on the 3 Series Sedan allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi S4’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The S4 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the 3 Series Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The S4’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the S4 offer available heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the S4.

On extremely cold Winter days, the 3 Series Sedan’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The S4 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Optional BMW Apps for the 3 Series Sedan allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The S4 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The S4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sedan will cost $325 to $6375 less than the S4 over a five-year period.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sedan will be $9048 to $19085 less than for the Audi S4.

Recommendations Comparison

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The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan

S4

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

n/a

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

n/a

Kiplinger’s Awards

2

0

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its September 2013 issue and the BMW 340i xDrive won out over the Audi S4.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 21 years. The S4 hasn’t been picked since 2010.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 19 years. The S4 has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold the Audi A4/S4 by over five to one during the 2015 model year.

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